History, they say, is written by the victors. And we live in a world where the lines between history and mythology are fast blurring. Undoubtedly, the works of noted mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik come as a ray of hope in these torrid times.
Already a fan of his works (have read them all), I was keen enough to read ‘The Boys Who Fought’ although the cover clearly said this book is an illustrated version of Mahabharata for the children. In fact, one of the main reasons why I like to read Pattanaik’s books are his illustrations. A simple half=page graphic can convey a thought much easier than a full page of text.
The story of Mahabharata has been told since time immemorial, by various authors. What sets Devdutt Pattanaik apart is his interpretation of the text. Those who have not read ‘Jaya’ must immediately get a copy for themselves. However, this book is largely focused on the feud between Pandavas and Kauravas. And he divided the entire story into six chapters: fight as orphans, fight as refugees, fight as kings, fight as exiles, fight as warriors and fight as hermits.
True to his style, every chapter is full of factoids in grey boxes, catchy illustrations and deep insight into the apparent ‘straight’ storyline. As Devdutt Pattanaik often warns us on Twitter, we must not take mythological texts literally but look for the hidden meaning between the lines. Reading this book surely gives one a new perspective on the giant epic of India.
Devdutt’s books are a treasure trove of learning for anyone who loves mythology. There is a saying in Bengali ‘Ja nei Bharate, ta nei Bharate’ (something which is not mentioned in Mahabharata, does not exist in India). Pattanaik’s interpretation of the book reinforces this old saying even more.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
P.S. This review is part of Flipkart’s Bloggers’ Affiliate Programme
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